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MetroPCS launches first LTE 4G network, phone in US

updated 10:30 am EDT, Tue September 21, 2010

MetroPCS first to switch on LTE in US

MetroPCS had the distinction today of being the first to switch on an LTE-based 4G network in the US. Its service, starting in Las Vegas, is potentially much faster than even WiMAX Moving to the faster speeds improves web browsing and makes possible media streaming that wasn't an option before; RealNetworks is supplying a video service with video from BET, NBC and Univision.

The service "initially" costs $55 for unlimited US calls, text messaging and data. A $60 tier's differences aren't clear beyond the addition of the RealNetworks portion. MetroPCS expects to fill out its entire coverage area with 4G throughout the year.

Only one device is launching with 4G so far. The expected Samsung Craft isn't a smartphone like Sprint's Epic 4G but aims for the higher end of the feature range, with a full HTML browser, a 3.3-inch AMOLED touchscreen, a 3.2-megapixel rear camera, GPS and Wi-Fi. It has little memory inside but ships with a 2GB microSD card preloaded with the JJ Abrams Star Trek movie ready to go.

The Craft sells for $299 off-contract after a $50 rebate. Modems, smartphones and other devices should come later but haven't been detailed.

MetroPCS' network is currently data only and still needs CDMA for voice but nonetheless represents the start of a major change in cellular networks in the US. Verizon is poised to launch its network at the end of the year in 30 cities, while AT&T is due to take its own network live in mid-2011. Verizon estimates that LTE gives speeds between 5Mbps and 12Mbps in the real world. The technology is low-latency enough to handle high-quality video calls as well as multiplayer games, and it's expected in the long term to replace landline Internet access for those in rural areas or who can't get reliable speed in urban areas.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. aristotles

    Grizzled Veteran

    Joined: Jul 2004

    0

    This is what I'm talking about balkanized LTE

    The CDMA carriers are rolling out a half-arsed effort in the US which will result in LTE fragmentation with a CDMA voice/LTE data split. They should have waited for the voice portion to be ratified before proceeding a with LTE.

    There will be no bastardized LTE/CDMA iPhone.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    +1

    Re: This is what I'm talking

    The CDMA carriers are rolling out a half-arsed effort in the US which will result in LTE fragmentation with a CDMA voice/LTE data split. They should have waited for the voice portion to be ratified before proceeding a with LTE.

    So, you complain that they're networks are too slow and not keeping up with the competition. So instead of just slapping duct-tape on the situation they invest in the next generation of technology to get a leg up, and you complain that they should have waited until Voice-over-LTE was 'finished'.

    So, when will it be finished? Should Verizon and the others not install any LTE hardware until it is finished, which means you'd have to wait at least a year past it's finish date to get the service to work? Maybe you think they should just shell out the money to get the system all up and ready, but not utilize it until it is ready. Yeah, who cares about trying to make money on your capital outlays.

    There will be no bastardized LTE/CDMA iPhone.

    Why not? What about a bastardized LTE/GSM phone? Is that OK?

    You do realize that until any carrier's entire network has switched over (and look how long it took ATT just to push 3G to it's network), you'd need backward compatibility. Thus, if there's no bastardized CDMA phone, there's no iPhone on Verizon for another 2 years at least. For who would want a phone that, say, will only work in specifically covered areas?

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